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I have always believed that effective brainstorming simply can’t happen unless everyone is in the same room.

That said, I also agree when people roll their eyes about using messaging platforms for in-depth virtual exchanges. Big ideas are difficult to discuss in an online chat, even synchronously.

Conference calls require an online video component, and video chats are usually spent staring at your colleagues’ tiled images, distracting backgrounds, or wandering pets. Not exactly an environment ripe for creativity or productive ideation.

In person it is then, right? Time to fly everybody to the same spot so they can be in front of the 3M Post-It pads, markers in hand … because that is where all the magic happens.

Here are a couple of tech tools for virtual brainstorming that are bursting this theory wide open!!!

1. MeetingRoom.io

What sucks the life out of online meetings is their lack of personalization, and what often contributes to miscommunication is a lack of visual cues. This is, at least, what MeetingRoom founder Jonny Cosgrove believes.

The Dublin-based entrepreneur has worked with his team to develop a tool that brings people into a virtual room together (yes, with an option to edit and save digital whiteboards!) as themselves. Yup… in this meeting, you actually attend as an avatar, and can face your teammates just as you would in a face-to-face setup. So cool!!!


Created by CEO Mariano Suarez Battan, MURAL came to life to solve a collaboration issue when working in remote teams. With offices in San Francisco and development operations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the company is constantly using its own tool, which enables teams to use sticky notes on grids for synchronous collaboration with a spatial twist, and be able to track changes along the way.

Full disclosure – I haven’t worked with either of these tools … but I intend to as quickly as I can! I am asked about it by my clients almost daily.

From what I understand, you don’t have to sacrifice on innovation just because you’re not physically gathered somewhere.

I can’t wait to get back to you on what I learn!

Man wearing goggle headset.